A flexible and programmable microscope to aid drug discovery

Mario Montes Usategui


    Mario Montes Usategui


    Fundació Bosch i Gimpera, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain


    The project is developing a programmable laser microscope with multimodal capacities able to meet the wider needs of the High-Content Screening (HCS) market.

    High-content screening is a drug-development technique that consist of analyzing, through automated microscopy, the effect of large libraries of pharmaceutical compounds on cell samples.

    The microscopy modules used in HCS rely on certain electro-mechanical elements that make them rigid and overspecialized. However, HCS users require flexible imaging technologies due to the variety of samples involved in these studies (culture and primary cells, 3D spheroids/organoids, tissue slices or small embryos). In general, desired features for HCS microscopy systems, such as sensitivity, resolution and speed, are mutually incompatible goals with current imaging technologies.

    The project’s programmable confocal modules, on the contrary, are capable of implementing multiple sample scanning modes, guided by algorithms in a way previously impossible, encapsulating the functionality of multiple imaging modalities into a single instrument, potentially satisfying HCS user needs.

    The aim of the project is to build a prototype of this “Swiss knife microscope” specifically oriented to HCS applications.